New York State Continues to Slow Down Accelerating Crypto Mining Industry Growth Upstate

Just weeks after both houses of the New York State legislature finally passed an environmental-conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations (as previously reported by ELM here: New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining), the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced its long-awaited decision concerning the air permit renewal application by a former coal-fired plant near Seneca Lake. The facility, purchased and refurbished by Greenidge Generation to run an extensive crypto mining business, has been dependent on roughly 17,000 servers. As previously addressed …

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Lithium and Minerals Alert: To Mine or Not to Mine? The Perfect Paradox

In March, ELM posted on the burgeoning environmental conflict over plans to construct an open-pit lithium mine in Thacker Pass, Nevada — plans triggered by what has become a momentous shift away from an emissions-intensive, fossil-fuel based economy, to one powered by renewables. See: “Ranchers, Environmentalists, and Indigenous Communities Lock Arms Against Homegrown Lithium.”

Precipitated by the potential for domestically sourced minerals to foster homegrown energy and in turn breed income, twenty-first century prospectors have been flocking to the nation’s once abandoned mineral …

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Latest Microplastics Findings: Meat and Dairy

A study conducted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and commissioned by the Plastic Soup Foundation, has found that nearly 80 percent of meat and dairy products from farm animals contain microplastics.  

Released July 8, the study was conducted by the same group of researchers that found microplastics in human blood, reported by the Environmental Law Monitor here. The group screened a variety of samples from livestock farms in the Netherlands for the presence of plastic particles. 

The researchers tested 12 samples of livestock feed, …

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California Implements Legislation to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Extend Producer Responsibility Laws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on June 30 a bill that aims to drastically cut single-use waste in the Golden State by shifting responsibility from consumers to the industry that produces it.  

The legislation, SB 54 — known also as ‘The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act’ — will apply to almost every type of plastic packing you might see at a California grocery store or big box outlet.  

Acting as an extended producer responsibility law, SB 54 requires all single-use …

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Chevron Deference on Life Support?

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 15 issued a unanimous reversal of a lower appellate court, and in which, ruling against the federal government, struck down a Department of Health and Human Services rule significantly reducing Medicare prescription reimbursements to hospitals traditionally serving low-income patients.

Although the 2018 rule did not, on its face, seem to have anything to do with environmental rules or regulations, environmental lawyers, activists, and probably the Environmental Protection Agency itself closely watched the progress of American Hospital Association v. Becerra

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Microplastics Found for the First Time in Freshly Fallen Snow

In a study published last week, researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand identified microplastics in freshly fallen snow samples collected from 19 different sites across the Ross Island region of Antarctica. According to the authors, this finding, which is the first evidence of microplastics in Antarctic snow, “adds to the growing body of literature regarding microplastics as a ubiquitous airborne pollutant…”

Of particular import, the authors note that Antarctica, due to its inaccessibility, extreme environmental conditions, and barriers such as the Antarctic …

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New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining

On June 3, 2022, the New York State Senate passed the first bill in the country that bans certain cryptocurrency (crypto) mining operations. This bill, passed by the New York State Assembly in April 2022, now goes to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature. The bill imposes a two-year moratorium on crypto mining operations that “require proof-of-work authentication methods to validate block chain transaction.” The bill would also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to prepare a “generic” environmental impact statement on cryptocurrency mining operations using proof-of-work authentication …

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Study Finds Increasing Chemical Exposure in Pregnant Women

A study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins, and published in Environmental Science & Technology has found widespread exposures to prevalent and understudied chemicals in a diverse sample of pregnant women in the United States. The researchers studied urine samples from 171 pregnant women from California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Puerto Rico who were a part of the National Institutes of Health Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program, and measured for 89 different …

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A REVERSED REVERSAL OF NEPA RULES

Last week, through the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) publication of a final rule at the close of phase one of a two-phase rulemaking process, the Biden administration began its efforts to reverse the prior administration’s reworking of the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess environmental, social, and economic impacts of any activities those agencies are seeking to undertake. The list of such actions is broad, but …

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Study Finds Microplastics in Human Lung Tissue

Less than one month after the release of a study showing the discovery of microplastics in human blood, reported by the Environmental Law Monitor here, scientists have discovered microplastics in the lungs of living individuals. The study, out of Hull York Medical School in England and published in Science of the Total Environment, found 39 microplastics in 11 of 13 lung tissue samples collected during thoracic surgical procedures on living patients. Samples were taken from upper, middle, and lower lobe specimens following surgical …

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